What to Pack for Puerto Vallarta: A Traveler’s Guide

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November 29, 2023
5 min read

Puerto Vallarta is  a beautiful resort town located on the Pacific coast of Mexico. With its sandy beaches, vibrant nightlife, and delicious cuisine, Puerto Vallarta is a popular destination for travelers seeking sun and fun. With the right preparation, you'll be more than ready to make the most out of your vacation!

Overview of Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta is located in the state of Jalisco, Mexico. The city boasts gorgeous beaches with clear waters and breathtaking views of the Sierra Madre Mountains. Once a small fishing village, Puerto Vallarta has evolved into a bustling tourist town with an array of activities and attractions.

The Malecon boardwalk runs along the beachfront and is lined with bars, restaurants and shops selling local crafts. Visitors can also take a boat ride out to Los Arcos Marine Park or venture inland to explore the tropical forests surrounding the city.

Packing The Right Items

Don't stress about packing for your dream vacation. We’re here to make sure you're prepared so you can enjoy your trip without any hassles. It's important to pack for the hot and humid weather in Puerto Vallarta. And don't forget essentials like sunscreen and insect repellent to avoid sunburns and bug bites. To help you out, we've put together a list of must-have items for your trip to Puerto Vallarta!

Get to know more about this beautiful coastal city and the top attractions in our Puerto Vallarta city guide.


Lightweight and Breathable Fabrics

If you're planning a trip to Puerto Vallarta, you're in for some hot and humid weather. This means you'll want to pack clothes that are made from lightweight and breathable fabrics, such as cotton, modal, or linen. These materials will help keep you cool by allowing air to circulate around your body.

It's important to note that while it may be tempting to wear as little clothing as possible in the heat, make sure you still dress appropriately for the culture of the place you're visiting. Avoid wearing revealing clothing when exploring outside of the beach areas.

Swimsuits, Cover-Ups, and Beachwear 

No trip to Puerto Vallarta would be complete without spending some time at the beach or pool! Make sure to pack at least two swimsuits so that one is always dry and ready for use. Additionally, cover-ups can provide a great way to transition from water activities to dining or shopping on the nearby boardwalk.

Comfortable Walking Shoes for Exploring the City

While flip flops or sandals may seem like a good choice when traveling somewhere warm like Puerto Vallarta, it’s important not to forget about comfortable walking shoes. 

The city has a lot of cobblestone streets that can be uncomfortable to walk on if you're wearing shoes that don't provide enough support. If you like wearing open-toed shoes, it's a good idea to bring sneakers with good arch support or sandals with ankle straps. 

Just make sure they're already comfortable and won't give you blisters during your trip. Your feet will definitely appreciate it after long days of exploring everything this beautiful city has to offer!

Sun Protection

Protect Your Skin with Sunscreen

Mexico is known for its tropical weather, which means you will be exposed to a lot of sun. Protecting your skin from harmful UV rays should be a top priority. When packing for your trip, make sure to bring sunscreen with a high SPF (at least 30).

It's also important to reapply sunscreen every few hours, especially if you are spending a lot of time in the water. Don't forget to check the expiration date on your sunscreen before packing it.

If it has expired or will expire during your trip, get a new one. You don't want to take any chances when it comes to protecting your skin from sunburns and other damage caused by excessive exposure.

Shield Your Eyes and Head with Sunglasses and Hats

Besides applying sunscreen, you can also shield yourself from direct sunlight by wearing sunglasses and hats. The bright sun can cause glare that leads to headaches and eye strain.

My go-to is polarized sunglasses that can help reduce glare significantly while still allowing you to enjoy the beautiful ocean views. Additionally, hats provide excellent protection for both your face and scalp against UV rays.

A wide-brimmed hat is particularly helpful in shielding your face from direct sunlight while keeping you looking stylish at the same time. Plus it can protect your neck too. A hat also helps keep you cool by providing some shade for your head and neck. I consider it a must-have accessory when in Puerto Vallarta.

Hurricane or Rainy Season

Hurricane season in Mexico typically runs from June to November. The peak of the season, when the likelihood of hurricanes or tropical storms is higher, is typically between August and October.

Firstly, don't forget to bring appropriate clothing for wet weather. Pack lightweight rain jackets or ponchos that can easily be carried in your bag. Also, include waterproof shoes or sandals that will keep your feet dry while exploring the city streets. Additionally, bring an umbrella as it can come in handy when unexpected showers hit. You will also want to pack a waterproof bag to keep your electronics safe and dry.

Secondly, make sure to pack necessary supplies for emergency situations. Keep a small first aid kit with essentials such as band-aids, antiseptic wipes, and any prescription medications you may need. It's also wise to carry extra batteries and a portable phone charger in case of power outages.


Insect Repellent to Avoid Bug Bites

Nothing can ruin a good vacation like insect bites. Fortunately, there are many types of insect repellents available on the market that can help avoid them. One of the most popular ingredients in insect repellents is DEET, which is effective against mosquitoes, ticks, and other biting insects. You can pack some OFF or buy some locally.

Personal Items 

Make sure to pack travel-sized versions of these items so they don't take up too much space in your luggage. If you're staying in a hotel or resort with complimentary toiletries available, you may be able to skip packing certain items like shampoo and conditioner.


When planning a trip abroad, it's important to pack any essential medications. This includes prescription items as well as OTC remedies like painkillers or antihistamines. It’s okay if you forget some OTC items, you can easily pick them up at many of the Mexican pharmacies (more than likely much cheaper too).

Additionally, don't forget your medical documents such as doctor's letters or prescriptions just in case of any hiccups at customs. Most importantly, if you have any allergies or medical issues it's wise to make sure your travel buddies are aware and bring along all relevant information too—just in case!

Chargers: Don't Let Your Devices Die

Nowadays, we depend on our electronic devices for almost everything while traveling – from GPS navigation to grabbing a ride to staying connected with loved ones. So don't forget to pack chargers for all your electronic devices such as smartphones, cameras, tablets, laptops or e-readers. Most things charge with Type C (or Lightning for Apple) but there are the occasional items that may need a mini-USB so don’t overlook those.

It's always wise to carry extra batteries or portable chargers for those long road trips or beach days where electricity is not accessible. I love my Anki charger and it can charge my phone twice before needing to recharge it, which is great since I have other cameras that I can charge with it too.

If you are traveling from outside the Americas, make sure you bring the right adapters as Mexico uses different electrical sockets. A universal travel adapter will come in handy when charging your electronics at public outlets like cafes or hotels without worrying about compatibility issues.

Miscellaneous Items

While it's easy to get caught up in packing clothes and toiletries, don't forget about the miscellaneous items that are just as important for a smooth and stress-free trip to Puerto Vallarta. Here are a few things that may come in handy:

Cash or Credit Card for Transactions

Whether you plan on dining at local restaurants, shopping at boutiques, or taking part in tours and excursions, it's essential to have money on hand. Many places in Puerto Vallarta do accept credit cards, but it's always a good idea to carry some cash with you as well.

ATMs can be found throughout the city if you need to withdraw more money. Just make sure to notify your bank before your trip so they don't flag any transactions as fraud.

If you're planning on making it down to the markets or grabbing some food from street vendors, having some smaller bills will come in handy for bargaining and making purchases. 

Identification Documents

If you're traveling internationally, make sure to pack your passport and any other identification documents needed for entry into Mexico. It's also a good idea to bring copies of these documents in case the originals get lost or stolen. 

Additionally, if you plan on renting a car you will need additional forms of identification such as a driver's license or international driver’s permit..

Travel Adapter if Needed

The electrical outlets in Mexico are different from those found in some other countries, so it's important to bring a travel adapter if necessary. These can be purchased at most electronics stores or online prior to your trip. Keep in mind that the voltage in Mexico is 110-120V..

If you plan on bringing any electronics such as laptops or hair dryers, make sure they are compatible with the voltage or bring a voltage converter. 


Puerto Vallarta is a beautiful, sunny destination that is perfect for getting away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. However, packing for a trip to Puerto Vallarta requires careful consideration to ensure you have everything you need for an enjoyable and comfortable stay. From clothing to sun protection and electronics, each item plays an essential role in making sure your trip goes smoothly.

If you're thinking about clothing, it's important to go for lightweight and breathable fabrics because the weather can become hot and humid. It's also crucial to have swimsuits, cover-ups, and beachwear if you're planning on doing water activities or just relaxing at the beach. 

Don't forget to bring high SPF sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat to shield your skin from the sun. And if you want to avoid bug bites while enjoying outdoor activities, make sure to bring insect repellent.

Also don't forget medications and bring cash or credit cards since some establishments may not accept credit cards. You will want to remember your passport/ID documents and always keep safety in mind. 


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Written by:

I consider myself a world-travelling nomad and a foodie at heart. Born in Germany and raised in East Tennessee, my passion for exploration has taken me all over the planet - exploring unfamiliar lands and cultures is what truly inspires my soul!
I live outside of Doha and consider myself an inside expert on all things Qatar. I love exploring all the country has to offer and look forward to giving you valuable insights of where I call home!
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